Know How / Environment

Get the latest news on environmental, wildlife and rewilding issues on farms and farmland. Keep up-to-date on a range of farm environment matters including Defra’s greening policies, environmental compliance, water abstraction licences, ammonia emissions, and farm pollution. See advice on measure to improve your farm’s environmental credentials and sustainable future, such as planting trees to improve soil, livestock cover and a habitat for wildlife.

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Practical advice

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How can farmers improve feed security amid climate change?

Climate change means UK farmers are experiencing more extreme weather conditions which can make growing crops far harder. What lessons can be learned from other countries to help improve feed…


A guide to farm recycling: the options and costs

Plastic usage is a hot topic globally, with all industries under pressure to reduce the amount used. On farms – particularly livestock units – large quantities of plastic are used…


How to control smells on poultry farms

Keeping a tight lid on smell is one of the primary responsibilities of the poultry farm manager. Statutory authorities have a duty to deal with odour complaints from a variety…


Rule reminder: Key pesticide stewardship guidelines

Plant protection product stewardship campaigns are now at the heart of industry efforts to prevent further losses of under-threat active ingredients. Here, we give a reminder of the key actives…


Septic tanks on farm: Rules and replacements

By the time 1 January 2020 comes round, the Environment Agency hopes that farmers with septic tanks that currently discharge into a watercourse will have checked them and upgraded if necessary.…


Ultimate Guide: How to plant trees on your farm

Planting woodland and trees on farmland has a range of benefits for arable and livestock farmers - as a timber diversification it can provide an extra income stream, it can…

Case studies

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Winter barley abandoned for triticale on Shropshire farm

A Shropshire grower is swapping to triticale this spring after a wet autumn prevented him from drilling more than half of his winter barley area. With its tolerance to drought,…


Farm wins lucrative meat market with eco-friendly system

Peter and Henri Greig are champions of regenerative farming on their small-scale family farm and credit it with creating low input, sustainable farming that has opened the door to direct…


Organic farmer branches out into agroforestry

Eastbrook Farm is home to renowned organic farmer and chief executive of the Soil Association, Helen Browning. She took over the farm, and its subsequent conversion to organic status, at…


How a Salers herd aims to become carbon neutral by 2035

Mixed farmer Conor Colgan is using increasingly sophisticated methods and research to increase the efficiency of his farm in an attempt to become carbon neutral. Relatively basic improvements in herd…


How a veg grower slashed energy and pesticide use

A large farming estate on the Norfolk/Suffolk border is making great progress in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions involved with growing root vegetables. Elveden Farms, which specialises in potatoes, onions,…


Video: How Gloucs farmers are working to prevent flooding

Farmers and landowners in Gloucestershire’s Upper Thames area are working together to manage the land to provide catchment-scale solutions to prevent future floods while making businesses resilient.  When storms Eva…


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More visitors to the countryside – good or bad for farming?

The vital role of farmers in shaping the nation’s protected landscapes must be recognised as new policies are drawn up for the countryside, industry leaders say. Their warning follows calls…


Myth buster – the BBC's anti-meat programme examined

The recent BBC investigation Meat: A Threat to our Planet? has caused quite a storm. Even as it was airing, social media was alive with comments. Consumers were aghast at…


5 ways government policy can encourage soil-first farming

A lack of soil protection legislation has been a “catastrophic failure” by politicians, allowing costly degradation to continue relatively unabated until today, according to Reading University’s Chris Collins. European water…


Results-based pilot scheme helps farmers deliver green goals

A pioneering scheme that gives farmers flexibility to create their own environmental plan tailored for their land is achieving fantastic results for local wildlife, say industry leaders. Natural England in…


What new water protection powers would mean for farmers

The Environment Agency is close to using fresh powers to regulate water quality that will include the ability to ban cropping or impose low stocking densities. Water Protection Zones (WPZs)…


Why farm policy should support agroforestry

One of the recurring messages from the recent spate of reports and conferences about climate change is that farmers and landowners need to be planting more trees. That was spelled…


Q&A: Should you consider agroforestry on your farm?

Agroforestry is something of the ‘poor relation’ when it comes to increasing the country’s tree cover, but its potential contribution to offsetting climate change should not be underestimated. So, what…


12 things we learned from the IPCC climate land report

A major report on global land use and agriculture has been published by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report recognises the important role animal products play…

Latest environment news

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Crop yields could plummet if vital ocean current collapses

Crop production could plunge if climate change causes the collapse of an ocean current that brings warmth to the UK, scientists have warned. Land suitable for arable farming could drop…


ORFC2020: Critics slam #ApocalypseCow programme

Environmentalist George Monbiot came under fire at the Oxford Real Farming Conference for his Channel 4 documentary suggesting that meat is killing the planet. A panel discussion with Mr Monbiot…


National Trust to plant millions of trees on farmland

The National Trust has announced plans for a huge expansion of trees as part of its efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The charity said it aims…


Better approach to greenhouse gas could benefit farmers

Farmers could benefit from a more sophisticated approach to measuring greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, according to a climate scientist. The current thinking around agriculture’s impact on climate assesses the…


Farmers reject Monbiot's claim livestock is killing planet

Farmers have hit back at claims made in a Channel 4 documentary Apocalypse Cow: How Meat Killed the Planet, describing the programme as imbalanced and inaccurate. In the programme, renowned…


ORFC 2020: Farmers slam media for 'beef bashing'

Farmers have hit back at “beef bashing” and misleading claims that cows are damaging the environment through methane emissions. Speaking at the Oxford Real Farming Conference on Wednesday (8 January),…


Tens of thousands of stock perish in Australian bushfires

Livestock losses from the Australian bushfires will exceed 100,000, according to the federal government’s agriculture minister. Tens of thousands of cattle and sheep have been killed in the bushfires, either…


Poll: Are Extinction Rebellion Oxford protests justified?

Climate change protestors have revealed plans to picket this week’s Oxford Farming Conference (OFC). Extinction Rebellion Oxford (XR Oxford) says it will be staging peaceful protests at events on Tuesday,…


Farmers urged to challenge ‘anti-meat’ agenda

January is a huge opportunity for livestock and dairy farmers to counter criticism levelled at the sectors by the meat-free movement, according to the AHDB. The first month of the…


Devastating scenes as Aussie farmers battle bushfires

Farmers across southern Australia have been sharing heartbreaking stories of the impact of the catastrophic bushfires. New South Wales south coast dairy farmer Robert Miller told The Land newspaper it…


Extinction Rebellion to 'take on' Oxford Farming Conference

Climate change protestors Extinction Rebellion Oxford (XRO) are planning to carry out “peaceful actions” at next week’s Oxford Farming Conference (OFC), to push their view that farming damages the environment.…


Farmers condemn suggestion to take farmland out of production

Farmers have slammed a suggestion by former Defra chief scientist Ian Boyd that half of UK farmland should be taken out of food production. Professor Boyd, who spent seven years…


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Video: Why farmers are facing recycling headaches

Plastic and tyre waste disposal is a growing problem for agriculture. Environmental regulations require farmers to dispose of waste through reputable waste management services and they need to show proof…


Video: Why cattle and a combine are environmental champions

Farming is often painted by environmental groups as the bad guy but a project to improve water quality and carbon storing are proving that farming holds some of the answers…


Video: Grower reacts to planned ban for chlorothalonil

As a conventional farmer, David Butler is trying to find the right balance between productive agriculture and looking after wildlife on his farm. A fourth-generation farmer, Mr Butler farms East…


Video: High-tech machine to revolutionise slurry pollution

While there has been a reduction in water pollution problems over recent years in England, agriculture is now the sector responsible for the largest number of serious incidents. In this…